Ochsner & Statewide Partners Awarded $13.6 Million NCI Grant

Statewide clinical trials network expands with focus on minority cancer patients

NEW ORLEANS– Ochsner Cancer Institute (Ochsner), along with its Gulf South NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) partners, has been awarded a $13.6 million grant by the National Cancer Institute to expand the successful statewide clinical trials network with a special emphasis on minority and underserved cancer patients.

The primary partners of Gulf South NCORP are Ochsner Cancer Institute, Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport – Feist-Weiller Cancer Center, LSU Health New Orleans Stanley S. Scott Cancer Center and Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center. Ochsner has been a NCORP grant recipient since the program began in 2014 and an NCI Oncology Program site since 1983.

The new Clinical Trials Network will provide cancer care and access to clinical trials for more than 50 percent of newly diagnosed cancer patients in the region, expand the number of sites offering access to clinical trials from 22 to 42 and increase the proportion of minority patients participating in NCORP trials. It will also take advantage of the clinical subspecialties at the primary affiliate sites, utilize the valuable samples in biorepositories to advance research in health disparities and treatment, as well as expand its partnerships with community health organizations. The principal investigator is Augusto Ochoa, MD, Director of LSU Health New Orleans Stanley S. Scott Cancer Center.

“Clinical trials are essential to improving the outcomes for patients with cancer,” said Brian Moore, MD, FACS, Director of the Ochsner Cancer Institute and board-certified otolaryngologist who specializes in head and neck cancer surgery. “These trials will expand the availability of innovative treatments, as well as approaches to screening and prevention, for all patients in the Gulf South, especially the minority and underserved populations who stand to benefit the most.”

With the third highest cancer incidence rates in the U.S., Louisiana loses more than 9,000 residents each year to cancer[i]. Disparities in minority cancer incident rates are of national concern—black males overall have the highest cancer incidence and death rates of all major racial/ethnic groups and black females have 13 percent higher cancer death rates than non-Hispanic white females, despite 7 percent lower incidence rates. As a group, Hispanics in the U.S. have the highest rates for cancers associated with infection (ex. cervical, liver and stomach cancers).[ii]

Cancer Care at Ochsner

Ochsner’s specialists treat more than 32,000 cancer patients annually, from all 50 states and 28 countries. Ochsner is committed to providing exceptional cancer care where its patients live, in large and small communities alike and has 11 cancer treatment facilities throughout the state including:

Additionally, Ochsner’s Precision Cancer Therapies Program offers the region access to the latest in cancer therapeutics, research and advanced diagnostics. It provides an experienced staff including nurses, doctors, researchers, technicians, laboratory personnel, infusion staff, schedulers and a concierge, fully dedicated to early phase trial cancer patients.

The Gayle and Tom Benson Cancer Center in New Orleans is currently undergoing a $48 million addition, including a $20 million gift from the Bensons, that will double its size, increasing capacity to offer more high-quality cancer services and advanced clinical research, making it one of the leading comprehensive destinations for cancer care across a multi-state region. The expansion is scheduled to be complete early next year.

For more information about the Ochsner’s clinical trials program, please click here or call 888-995-7405.

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About Ochsner Health System

Ochsner Health System is Louisiana’s largest non-profit, academic, healthcare system. Driven by a mission to Serve, Heal, Lead, Educate and Innovate, coordinated clinical and hospital patient care is provided across the region by Ochsner's 40 owned, managed and affiliated hospitals and specialty hospitals, and more than 100 health centers and urgent care centers. Ochsner is the #1 ranked hospital in Louisiana by U.S. News & World Report and is recognized as a “Best Hospital” across two specialty categories caring for patients from all 50 states and more than 70 countries worldwide each year. Ochsner employs nearly 25,000 employees and over 4,500 employed and affiliated physicians in over 90 medical specialties and subspecialties and conducts more than 700 clinical research studies. Ochsner Health System is proud to be a tobacco-free environment. For more information, please visit ochsner.org and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

[i] American Cancer Society, Louisiana Cancer Statistics

[ii] American Cancer Society, Cancer Facts and Figures 2019

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